In response to COVID-19, emergency funding relief is available to museums and other arts organizations. 

The future of cultural institutions is uncertain right now as museums face operational and financial challenges amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Most institutions have a disaster preparedness and emergency response plan, but no one could foresee a stifling pandemic like this coming. Many museums are troubled by what lies ahead as they look to their Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), and continue to assess critical functions and resources. 

Sounds bleak. The good news is that countries are standing up emergency funding programs to help offset lost revenue, cover operation costs, retain membership and staff, and keep museums afloat during event cancellations and building closures. 

If your institution is in need of funding, please refer to this list of emergency initiatives. 

And, please feel free to contact us with other relief operations that are not listed. 



The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

he CARES Act was unveiled in April of 2020 by the United States Congress. The $2.2 trillion economic relief package provides much-needed support for American museums and cultural institutions, as well as for individual artists.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) already closed their portals for new applications, but the Institute of Museum and Library Services IMLS announced $15 Million in CARES Act grants available for museum and library services in early May. The deadline for pandemic response funding is due June 12, 2020.  

Museums should also pay close attention to the following loan programs and tax credits, presented in the CARES Act:

  • Paycheck Protection Program (Small Business Administration 7(a) Loans: Nonprofit organizations with 500 or fewer employees may qualify for up to $10 million in loans, meant to cover operational costs and employee salaries. Partial or full loans will be forgiven, provided that certain guidelines are met. Due to great demand, PPP funding ran out in mid-April, but PPP was resumed on April 27, 2020. View the full details.

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Loan Advances (SBA 7(b) loans): By adding an extra $10 billion to the EIDL program and eliminating credit requirements, this loan program offers advances of up to $10,000 to nonprofit organizations of 500 or fewer employees, just three days after the application approval. Begin by applying here.

  • Mid-Size Business Loan Program: As a forthcoming initiative by the Treasury Department, this loan program aims to provide loans to qualifying institutions of 500 to 1,000 employees.

  • Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit: If your museum doesn’t qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program, this refundable tax credit could offer up to $5,000 for each payrolled employee per quarter. To be eligible, certain criteria must be met including an over 50% loss in revenue and a significant decrease in operations due to COVID-19. Read more.

  • Main Street Business Lending Program: As an initiative by the Treasury Department, this loan program aims to provide $600 billion in loans to qualifying small and mid-sized institutions of 500 to 10,000 employees or whose annual revenue from 2019 was below $2.5 billion.


Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund

The Arts and Culture Leaders of Color Emergency Fund is intended to help those pursuing careers as artists or arts administrators whose income has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is for those who self-identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).


Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.


Federal Disaster Loans for Businesses, Private Nonprofits, Homeowners, and Renters

List of regions with current declared disasters who are eligible for federal assistance


The NDN Collective’s COVID-19 Response Project

The NDN COVID-19 Response Project is designed to provide rapid response resources to Indigenous communities bracing from economic impacts, stresses to public services, and combating the spread of misinformation. Applications for Indigenous artists and entrepreneurs coming soon.


Twenty Summers Emergency Arts Fund

An Emergency Arts Fund for artists (up to $500) and arts organizations (up to $1k) suffering from unexpected and unmanageable financial loss as a result of the Coronavirus.



4 Culture Cultural Relief Fund for Organizations 

One-time grants of up to $5,000 are available to King County, WA cultural organizations for unexpected costs and losses related to the COVID-19 virus. The first round of funding will be available April 1 through May 15; apply at any time within that time frame. A panel will review applications weekly and notify you within ten business days about the status of your application. Open to organizations in King County, WA only.


The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes Emergency Arts Relief Grant 

Provides financial support to creative individuals and community groups who have experienced lost income from the postponement and/or cancellation of specific, scheduled opportunities or programs due to the outbreak of COVID-19.


Arts for Illinois Relief Fund 

A statewide effort that provides financial relief to artists and arts organizations with urgent need due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through AIRF, 3Arts will issue $1,500 unrestricted, one-time grants to as many eligible artists as possible, given the total funding available. 


COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL 

A new emergency support fund focused on the arts and culture sector. COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL will support individual artists as well as arts and culture organizations in Philadelphia whose operations, work and livelihood have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The J. Paul Getty Trust

On April 2, 2020, The J. Paul Getty Trust announced its LA Arts COVID-19 Relief Fund, which intended to award $15 million in financial relief to Los Angeles artists and arts organizations. The funds are to be distributed through the California Community Foundation. Applications for Relief Grants closed on May 1, 2020, but the Trust plans to support Recovery Grants. More information to come. Stay tuned here.


New Haven Creates Relief Fund

The New Haven Creative Sector Relief Fund will distribute immediate financial assistance to individual creatives and arts institutions most impacted by the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Applicants can apply on a rolling basis to receive up to $1,000 based on their financial situation, with a priority for low-income individuals and small-budget arts organizations. Applications will be reviewed weekly and payments sent 2 days after review.


North Dakota Council on the Arts (NDCA) CARES Fund

NDCA CARES Act Fund will disperse funds to individuals and organizations in North Dakota in need of financial support directly related to losses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health State of Emergency Declaration issued by Governor Burgum on March 13, 2020. Individuals and organizations eligible for this funding are defined as those whose primary mission is to promote and provide connections through creative expression by sharing creative experiences, expressing our own creativity, or connecting us with others and ourselves. Deadline: May 18, 2020.


NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund

New York City philanthropists have banded together to form the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to combat the impact of COVID-19 on local nonprofits – including museums and cultural institutions. 

Grant applications for the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund are no longer being accepted. If your nonprofit has revenue delays due to COVID-19, you can apply for a loan.


NYC Small Business Services: Assistance & Guidance for Businesses Impacted Due to Novel Coronavirus 

The City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit. The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees.


Pitt County Arts Relief Fund 

The Arts Relief Fund has been created to support creative individuals and organizations in Pitt County who have been financially impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.


Seattle Foundation COVID-19 Response Fund 

Hosted by Seattle Foundation, the COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible resources to organizations working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of the outbreak. The Fund is designed to complement the work of public health officials and expand local capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as efficiently as possible.


Seattle Recovery Package

The initial support package is broken down into five components: Deferral of B&O Taxes; Assistance to Access SBA Loans; Expansion of Small Business Stabilization Fund; Relief for Utility Payments; and New Small Business Recovery Task Force. 


Sierra Arts Foundation Artist Relief Fund 

This fund is for individual artists and arts nonprofits only who live and operate in Washoe County.


South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief Grants

Emergency funds to arts organizations and artists during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Willem de Kooning Foundation

The Willem de Kooning Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Teiger Foundation, and the Cy Twombly Foundation have partnered to establish an emergency relief grant program, administered by New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), that will provide $1,250,000 in aid to Tri-State non-salaried workers in the visual arts who have experienced financial hardship from lack of income or opportunity as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Tri-State Relief Fund to Support Non-Salaried Workers in the Visual Arts will distribute one-time unrestricted cash grants of $2,000 each to freelance, contract, or non-salaried archivists, art handlers, artist/photographer’s assistants, cataloguers, database specialists, digital assets specialists, image scanners/digitizers, and registrars.

Applications will be accepted over three cycles starting Tuesday, May 5, 2020. After reviewing for completeness and documented losses of income, qualifying applicants will be selected for funding each cycle via a lottery process. Applicants who do not receive funding are invited to re-apply during future cycles.


The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy could provide substantial relief to museums across Canada. Belonging to the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the proposed program covers 75% of employee salaries for up to three months, starting retroactively from March 15, 2020.

The goal of this emergency coronavirus funding is to help institutions of all sizes retain and pay their staff. To qualify, an institution must show that their revenue has fallen by at least 30%. Employers are invited to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s online portal.


BC Arts Council

As a partnership with The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, the BC Arts Council introduced an Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement on March 23, 2020. This one-time supplement will be allocated in early April to Operating Assistance clients and institutions with qualifying projects.

To assist further, Spring and Fall Operating Assistance clients are also slated to receive 50% of their operating grant from last year as an advance. These agency-issued advances are hoped to provide immediate relief and help to stabilize BC arts institutions affected by COVID-19.


Canada Council for the Arts

To deliver immediate relief to the arts sector, the Canada Council for the Arts intends to provide $60 million in advanced funding. This amount adds up to 35% of its yearly grants awarded to more than 1,100 core-funded institutions.

The Canada Council expects to distribute these grant advances by May 4, 2020. According to a statement on their website, the early funding was deemed necessary for arts organizations to “meet their immediate commitments, help ensure cash flow, and address outstanding payments to the artists and cultural workers they employ.”

The Canada Council’s regular granting programs remain operational and open to new applications.


Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ)

The Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec has processed all 2019-2020 funding applications and will resume processing applications for 2020-2021 as soon as possible. The CALQ has set up a Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page.


Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM)

The Conseil des arts de Montréal has announced it will accelerate the majority of the grants payments planned for 2020. Funding payments totaling $13 million, representing 76% of its 2020 grants, will exceptionally be paid in April. 


Digital Originals

The Canada Council for the Arts and CBC/Radio-Canada are joining forces to launch Digital Originals, an initiative to help artists and arts institutions share their work online.

Micro-innovation grants of $5,000 will be distributed to develop, create, and share new or adapted work for digital dissemination to the Canadian public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding can go towards the online adaptation of new or canceled exhibitions, performances, screenings, and other arts-related programming.

The Canada Council will be accepting applications from mid-May until June 15, 2020. 

Awarded funds can be used to bring your exhibitions online. With Artwork Archive, you can easily curate online collections to share with your public. Learn how one museum turned their Paint Out into a digital success. Plans start at just $29/month and Artwork Archive offers a lifetime nonprofit discount. 


Heritage Canada

Heritage Canada is tasked with distributing $500 million in funding through the new COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations.



The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

From March 1, 2020, onwards for a minimum of three months, The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will provide financial support to UK institutions negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualifying institutions may file for 80% of furloughed workers’ monthly salaries, along with “the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage,” according to the Government of the United Kingdom website.

For additional information on the program and how to submit a claim, view the complete guidelines.


Arts Council England

To support England’s culture sector during COVID-19, Arts Council England plans to distribute £160 million of relief funding. Allocated between National Portfolio Organizations (NPOs), non-NPO organizations, and individual artists, the fund aims to protect museums, libraries, and other institutions promoting the arts.

In order to cover loss of income and urgent operational costs, £90 million has been set aside for NPOs, while £50 million is available to art institutions that aren’t currently receiving funding from the Arts Council.

Candidates can submit applications during two granting periods, running from April 9 to 16 and April 16 to 30, 2020, respectively. Future relief campaigns have not been announced by the Arts Council.


The Cultural Resilience Fund (Wales)

The Welsh Government has launched The Cultural Resilience Fund, a £18 million relief initiative to support the cultural and athletic sectors in Wales. Out of this short-term fund, £1 million has been set aside specifically for museums, archives, libraries, and other heritage institutions facing immediate losses.

Welsh museums interested in applying for funding may submit a 200-word statement detailing their needs. Further information is available on the Government’s website.


Museum Galleries Scotland

Museum Galleries Scotland, with funding from the Scottish Government, is allocating £700,000 in emergency relief to museums and galleries through the Urgent Response COVID-19 Fund. Their other initiative, the Digital Resilience COVID-19 Fund, has made £55,000 available to institutions wanting to purchase equipment that enables teleworking or software to publish their collections online.

The good news is that organizations can use Artwork Archive for less than $300USD a year—saving the bulk of the funds for staffing and other operations.  

Applications for either fund can be submitted using the Museum Galleries Scotland portal. Qualifying museums are eligible for up £60,000 to cover a 3-month income loss and up to £3,000 for equipment and software expenses.


The National Lottery Heritage Fund

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is rerouting £50 million from its grant programs to create the Heritage Emergency Fund, meant to combat immediate, coronavirus-related financial strain for the next three to six months in the UK’s heritage sector.

Grants of £3,000 and £50,000 will be allocated to an array of historical and cultural institutions, including museums, libraries, and archives. To apply for support, an institution must be a past or current grantee of The Heritage Fund, with little to no access to additional financial backing. Organizations facing a “severe financial crisis due to COVID-19” will be prioritized, according to the stated regulations.

In order to sustain this initiative, The Heritage Fund has paused its existing grant program. However, UK institutions currently receiving support will not be affected, and are still eligible to apply for this emergency coronavirus funding.


The Organisations Emergency Programme (Northern Ireland)

Northern Ireland’s Department of Communities pledged £1 million to arts organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic on April 27, 2020, as part of their new Creative Support Fund, which will also provide £500,000 in grants to artists.

Opening for applications this May, the Organisations Emergency Programme will start by distributing the first £500,000 to small and mid-sized institutions. The second half of the funding will become available once the situation has been further assessed.

Application information and forms will be released on the Arts Council of Northern Ireland website in the coming days.



The Hong Kong Arts Development Council

The Hong Kong Arts Development Council is funding 150 million HK Dollars to subsidize arts organizations, groups, and practitioners having work from February to April impacted by COVID-19. This funding includes performances, exhibitions, rehearsals, preparation and post-event work.


2020 Resilience Fund in Australia

The 2020 Resilience Fund is designed to provide emergency relief to support the livelihoods, practice, and operations of Australian artists, groups, and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding can be combined with relief offered by other arts funding agencies, government departments, support services, and philanthropy. There are three streams you can apply for. Learn more here.



Artwork Archive has been providing organizations, collectors, and artists with cloud-based tools to manage their artworks for over 10 years. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to not only catalog our art but to find ways to share it with the world during pandemic shutdowns. Our tools make it easy to share your collection online, stand up virtual exhibitions and continue to connect with audiences around the world.

You can contact us here for a demo of our platform.


Artwork Archive also has a COVID19 resource page for nonprofits and artists. We continue to update the resource with relief funding, articles, and webinars.